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Right before we moved to the Big Apple, we sold our car knowing that the NYC’s public transportation is hard to beat and that we wouldn’t want to pay for parking (almost the cost of rent in other cities). Now that we’ve left NYC, it’s time to get another car. We already miss the conveniences of having public transportation, but we know having a car also gives you so much freedom to explore the surrounding areas.

The last time I bought a car was over 10 years ago. I still remember how stressful the experience was. Not only did I have to find the exact car I wanted, but then I had to deal with negotiating, financing, and more. What I hate most about it is always feeling like I could’ve done something different to get a better deal.

A big thank you to Capitol One for sponsoring this post. All opinions are always our own. This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: Feb 7, 2019

We're Car Shopping! with Capital one auto navigator

So far the car shopping process has felt similar, but now there are more tools available to help shine a light on the car buying process, making it more transparent. We’re excited to work with Capital One’s Auto Navigator to share our experience using their tools to help us shop.

Visiting Dealerships

Looking online can only get you so far. We spent a few days visiting different dealerships to check out some of the cars we’re interested in. Although there were some exceptions to the rules, most dealerships felt the same as they did 10 years ago.

We walked in and someone greeted us within minutes asking us what we need. Most of these sales people were, as you would expect, salesy. They told personal stories about why they loved the car and brand, we filled out some paperwork where they gathered information on us, then we test drove the cars.

Then even though we said we were just doing some preliminary research, they still asked how they could get us to walk out with a car today. Some of the dealerships even had the managers stop by to meet us before we left in hopes that they could convince us.

If you’ve ever done any car shopping, this should sound familiar. And we weren’t even at the part where we were negotiating or looking into finance options yet, which is the most time-consuming and intimidating part.

AUTO NAVIGATOR

After looking around at dealerships, we retreated behind our screens to finalize our decision with Auto Navigator by Capital One. Not only does it help you get pre-qualified, but it has great features to help you find a car as well! Now that I’ve had time to use the app and website, I wanted to share some of my favorite features.

Get Pre Qualified without Impacting Your Credit Score

This is straight forward! You get pre-qualified and you don’t have to worry about it affecting your credit score. You can do this as often as you like just in case you’re thinking about getting a new car.

Search by Make & Model or Monthly Payment

Some of you may already know what cars you’re interested in looking for. If that’s the case, you can search via the make or the model. Auto Navigator provides real time inventory from dealerships within the distance range that you input. It gives you all the details and specs about the vehicles, but also lets you see what financing will look like.

You can even toggle the different settings helping you narrow down how much you want to put down or if you want to trade your car in. If you’re flexible on the car and want to search within your budget instead, you can search by monthly payment. That will help you figure out what you can afford.

Save & Compare

You can even favorite the vehicles you’re interested in and compare them with one another. I’ve been using this a lot just to help narrow down my search.

Personalize Your Financing

I briefly mentioned this earlier, but Auto Navigator has so many different settings to help you figure out your best financing options. That includes how long you want to finance, how much you want to put down, if you want to trade in a vehicle, tax, title & license fees, and more. It gives you a comprehensive and accurate look at what it will cost to own or lease the vehicle rather than just going by the MSRP and guessing what other fees might be involved.

Visit a Dealership Confidently

Once you find the car you want, you can visit the dealership with confidence. The price you find in Auto Navigator isn’t the final price, so you can still see if there is room for negotiation but you’ll have a good idea of what it should be. You can even adjust numbers once you arrive in the Auto Navigator app if they suggest different financing options, so you aren’t confused by all the terms and numbers they throw at you.

Our New Car

We test drove a bunch of cars but haven’t finalized which car we’re getting yet. We’ll be sharing it with you very soon, along with other tips for car shopping, which you can conveniently find in Capital One’s Auto Navigator Learning Center! In the meantime, we’ll be using Auto Navigator by Capital One to search our local dealerships for the perfect car. It will be making plenty of cameos on the blog in the coming year.

Where do you stand?

Capital One shared insights from a survey they conducted about car buying. I thought the numbers were interesting and show you how confusing the car buying process can be.

Here are some of the highlights that grabbed my attention. Do you agree?

  • Finance, and in turn getting a great deal, drives car purchases over all other factors.
    • 62% ranked finance as the most important part of the car-buying process. This included budget determination, credit score check and financing options.
    • 46% of all respondents said it’s most important to find the best deal. Millennials were slightly less driven by a good deal at 32%.
    • A total of 84% reported that working with the finance department on paperwork and negotiating price were the most time-consuming elements at a dealership.
  • Consumer confidence in the car-buying process is low.
    • Only 20% of respondents stated that they are very confident in the car-buying process, while 49% reported being somewhat confident or not very confident. Gen-X is the most confident generation.
  • Consumers don’t view the car buying process as transparent.
    • Only 6% of respondents think the car buying process is completely transparent, with 20% saying it is not at all, according to a survey sponsored by Capital One.
    • The most trusted source of information when researching a new vehicle is friends and family (51%). The top three are rounded out with online reviews and car-specific websites.

When is the last time you bought a car? How was your experience?

Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in NYC.

The post We’re Car Shopping! – with Capital One Auto Navigator appeared first on Local Adventurer » Travel Adventures in NYC + World Wide.

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With only 36 hours in Portland, Maine, I knew exactly what I wanted to do: eat lobster and see lighthouses. Over 10 years ago, I road tripped with two of my girlfriends up New England. When we were in Portland, the most memorable part was seeing the beautiful Portland Head Light.

A visit to Portland isn’t complete without seeing one or all of its five lighthouses. We’re also working on a post on best things to do in Portland ME, so keep a lookout for it in the coming weeks.

A big thank you to Visit Maine for hosting our visit. All opinions are always our own. This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: Jan 17, 2019

5 Beautiful Lighthouses in Portland ME You Need To See
How many lighthouses are in Portland Maine?

There are 6 lighthouses near Portland within 20 miles. Two of them are twin lighthouses, so you will be visiting 5 different locations.

1. Portland Head Light

1000 Shore Road, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, map

This is the most famous lighthouse near Portland and is located in Fort Williams Park. It’s easily the most photogenic and is one of the most photographed lighthouses in all of America. The jagged rocks, crashing waves, and beautiful shape of the shore make it perfect for photos.

Since most of the lighthouses are still used to this day, you can’t climb the towers except for Maine’s Open Lighthouse Day. In 2019, it will be on September 14 and you can find more details here. The Portland Head Lighthouse will only have roughly 280 tickets available on a first-come-first-served basis.

Besides the lighthouse, you can check out a museum inside the keeper’s quarters, which is open from late April to December.

Pro Tip: If you’re hoping to capture the most dramatic photos, visit at high tide on a windy day.

2. Ram Island Ledge Light

12 Captain Strout Cir, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, map

While you enjoy the stunning Portland Head Light, look towards the waters of the Casco Bay to spot the Ram Island Ledge Light. It lives on a tiny rock island and is made of gray granite blocks.

Note: It has a near twin in Boston called the Graves Light Station.

3. Cape Elizabeth Light (Two Lights State Park)

15 2 Lights Terrace, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, map

This was one of my favorite areas to explore. The lighthouses weren’t so easy to find especially if you mapped to the park. Instead, map to the Lobster Shack at Two Lights (225 Two Lights Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107) you’ll find a small parking lot next to the restaurant where you’ll get views of the lighthouse. We also walked out to Dyer Point to take photos out there and get a different vantage point.

There are two lighthouses here, but we had trouble finding the second one. Both are on private property, so you can only see them from Two Lights State Park. It’s open during the Maine Open Lighthouse Day with roughly 280 tickets available first-come-first-serve.

Local Tip: On warm days, you can head to Crescent Beach State Park which has one of Portland’s best sandy beaches.

4. Portland Breakwater Lighthouse (Bug Light)

S Portland Greenbelt Pathway, South Portland, ME 04106, map

You can walk right up to this tiny lighthouse in Bug Light Park. It’s a one-of-a-kind lighthouse that is shaped like a 4th-century Greek monument. This area is also popular for fishing and you can stop by the South Portland Historical Society Museum closely. You can step inside the lighthouse on Maine’s Open Lighthouse Day.

Pro Tip: There is parking lot at the park that makes it easy to stop by.

5. Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse

2 Fort Rd, South Portland, ME 04106, map

This lighthouse lives at the end of a long breakwater on the campus of Southern Maine Community College. This is the only Portland-area lighthouse that you can step inside on a regular basis. Volunteers lead tours on most Saturdays, Sundays, and Tuesdays from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Also, don’t forget to take in the Portland skyline across the water.

Pro Tip: Be careful walking on the large stones if it’s wet, icy, or windy. When we were there there were powerful wind gusts and Esther felt like the wind was blowing her away.

Lighthouses in Portland Maine Map
Essential Tips
  • The best time to visit for photos is at sunrise. You will find several other photographers with tripods ready for that shot.
  • Bring a tripod, if you’re visiting during sunrise or sunset. It helps with getting multiple exposures that you can later blend in photoshop.
  • Bring a wide and long lens to get varying shots. Most of ours was shot with a 35mm/1.2L lens on a Canon Mark IV body.
  • Maine’s Open Lighthouse Day brings in 15-18k visitors. If you want to go to one of the more..
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Welcome to our blog income reports where we share ways we’ve been making money through the blog, the challenges and lessons we learned each month, and finally to celebrate successes (however big or small). Though we have a few side hustles, we’re happy to say that the travel blog has become our main hustle.

Life Updates

We wanted to share some highlights and lowlights of 2018

LOWLIGHTS
  • Mika still has leukemia and Sebastian has a thyroid disease. They’re basically our two kids, so we hate seeing them sick. Plus, taking Mika to the oncologist has costed us an arm and a leg. Didn’t think we would become one of those pet owners, but here we are.
  • Had a family tragedy, which we’re still not ready to talk about yet.
  • We both became workoholics this year (and not in a proud, I’m-a-busy-and-important-person way).
  • Our fingers are injured from climbing, and every time we would get better, we injured ourselves again.
HIGHLIGHTS
  • The cats are on medication every day, but are healthy relatively speaking. It’s the best case scenario for a cat that has cancer. We’re glad that the test results have been trending positive.
  • The family tragedy has brought our family closer together than ever.
  • Our goal was to make our blog sustainable, but this year we surpassed all our blogging and financial goals.
  • We really enjoyed our year living in NYC, so much more than I could imagine. It was so nice living close to the climbing gym. We also made a lot more friends than we intended. I thought the people here were supposed to be mean and always too busy for you, but that wasn’t the case. Maybe I just tend to gravitate towards people who are more rough around the edges.

This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Originally Published: Jan 6, 2019

How We Made OVER $29K in December - Travel Blog Income Report
Why We Share Our Income Reports

If you’re new here, you might be wondering why on earth we would share something so personal. We’ve been hesitant to share our income reports for the last 5 years, and we’re super nervous about this post, but since we’re all about trial and error, let’s see how it goes! We’re putting out these income reports for these following reasons.

To Show You How We Make Income Blogging

We always want to be 100% transparent about how we make money through this blog. The amazing thing about the blogging world is that every blogger we’ve talked to does things a bit differently. There are also countless ways to grow and improve your business. When we started, we made most of our money through affiliate sales. Since then, we’ve shifted heavily to sponsored content. A big part of this is because my background is in sales and it’s what I’m good at. You can learn more about my sale method below. As time goes on, this will continue to change, but we want to share how we focus on our strengths to effectively meet our goals.

To Show You the Potential of Blogging

Whether you have a blog or are starting a blog, we want to show you that you can make a career out of blogging.

Even if you don’t want to blog, there are a ton of ways to be financially and location independent and we hope to inspire others to go after it too. If you want to keep your day job, blogging can be a great way for you to make some extra side money.

Esther started the blog 6 years ago and I joined her full time 3 years ago. Even until last year, our parents were worried about us financially, wondering when we would stop “playing” and start taking our lives and work more seriously. Neither of us ended up being “good Asians” (namely a doctor, lawyer, or engineer). It’s an unconventional job and where most people don’t understand all the work that goes on behind the scenes.

More: The Ugly Truths of Being a Travel Blogger told by Top Travel Bloggers

We love that our jobs give us flexibility in what we do, but being your own boss isn’t all that it’s cut out to be either. You have to be disciplined and work hard at your business to grow it.

Note: There are a lot of great blogs and resources out there about blogging, but the tough part is that it’s not always replicable unless you also want to start blogging about blogging. We wanted to show you that it’s possible to start a blog on other topics and still make a living. Though we have an e-course in the works, we want to continue to show you that the bulk of our income still comes from our travel blog.

To Track How We're Doing

I’ve always loved sharing goals online and tracking them. Putting them out in the world (via the blog) has helped me so much with accountability. Since we’re constantly tweaking trying to improve the blog, looking at these numbers will help us learn whether we’ve been making the right changes. It’s amazing to see how the sources of income have changed over time and to see where we still have room for improvement.

Ultimately, our life goal is to make enough to live on half our income (right now we’re at 30%), where the rest will go back into the community or support organizations we love.

Breakdown of Income for December 2018

In December 2018 we earned a total of $29,907.85

Affiliate Income
Sponsorships
  • Sponsored Product Posts: $21,525.67 
    *our fave marketplace lately: IZEA
Display Ads
  • Adthrive: $7,077.60
Income Comparison to Other Months
  • Total in 2018 Year Income: $248,551.76
  • Last Month Income: $26,433.62
  • Difference: 113% increase from last month
Previous Income Reports

If you’re not getting the results you want, again, keep in mind that we’ve been blogging for 6 years now and the first month I tried monetizing my blog, I made less than $20. Give it more time and failing in the process is okay. I didn’t have the correct tools and a lot of it was trial and error. Consider it all an A/B test to figure out what will best work for you.

Expenses

TOTAL EXPENSES: $5,980.09
TOTAL NET PROFIT: $23,927.76

*Roughly 30% of your income will go to taxes at the end of the year. The number above shows the money set aside for taxes to offset how much we have to pay at the end. It makes it less painful at the end of the year, but it is still significantly more.

August 2018 Blog Traffic Breakdown + Stats
  • Monthly Pageviews: 451,277
  • Daily Average: 14,557
  • Monthly Sessions: 353,197
  • Monthly Unique Visitors: 297,559
  • Social Media Followers: 327,840
  • Email Subscribers: 8,114
Annual Breakdown of Income for 2018

In 2018 we earned a total of $248,551.76

Ads: $66,737.52
Affiliate: $23,830.20
Sponsor: $157,984.04

Expenses 2018
  • Giving: $35,500.00
  • Virtual Assistant + Subcontractors: $20,731.08
  • Office Supplies/Services: $13,096.53
  • Test Products/Shoot Supplies: $15,366.96
  • *Taxes: $34,679.00
  • Insurance: $9,134.74
  • Marketing: $5,436.08
  • Travel + Meal Expenses: $17,031.75

TOTAL EXPENSES: $150,976.14
TOTAL NET PROFIT: $97,676.62

*Roughly 30% of your income will go to taxes at the end of the year. The number above shows the money set aside for taxes to offset how much we have to pay at the end. It makes it less painful at the end of the year.

Blog News + January Goals
Blog Goals
  • Check off 10 items on our NYC bucket list and NYC food bucket list.
  • Get 2 weeks ahead on work since we have to move at the end of the month.
  • Lock in at least 2 more sponsors for the year.
Life Goals
  • Read 1 book to start our 19 in 2019 goals.
  • Take a bouldering class.
  • Do a purge of anything we don’t need/use anymore.
  • Go on two date nights
  • Pack up and move!!
What's Working on the Blog

This month, we didn’t test out a new marketing strategy. Instead, we were out in the city trying to gather as much content as possible and spending time with family back in Atlanta.

We did switch our email provider over to Convertkit, which I love so far. It offers so many more features than Mailchimp and we haven’t even begun using them all. We’ll let you know all the pros and cons when we dive into it more.

What Didn't Work + Lessons Learned

We are going back to the drawing board on how to promote the e-course. It doesn’t exactly help that neither of us enjoy promoting it and that bloggers are being scammed.

Even though we know the e-course is helpful, promoting it has always felt gross! We did get some sign ups and have already heard that it’s working for those people, which is very encouraging to hear. We just need to get back into the right mindset and reach the right people.

The e-course is out! With a lot of trial and error over the years, Jacob has figured out the best ways to pitch and work with sponsors. One of our most recent sponsorships was a $35k deal. Plus, one of our students using the e-course has already booked $11k in sponsorships while another student has made her money back and more on her first pitch. If you’re interested to learn more, see the intro video here.

What have you been up to last month? Any fun plans next month? What are some of your goals next month?
Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in NYC.

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I could stare at the stars and the ocean for hours. When looking upon the expanse of the sky, it seems to go on forever and make me and my problems feel so small (in a good way).

A few years ago we started to get into astrophotography, but after moving to NYC, we’ve been shooting city lights over the night sky. While living in the city that never sleeps, we met some incredible astrophotographers who have inspired us to get back at it. We have a feeling our next city will have us spending more time outside.

This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. All opinions are always our own. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: Jan 3, 2019

13 Stargazing Events You Won't Want to Miss in 2019

We’ve done some night photography on a whim, but in hindsight realized it takes a some astronomy knowledge to capture great star photos. P.S. I also did some sports photography back in college, which was a disaster, because I didn’t understand the sport and could never follow the ball. I am hoping in the coming year with a better understanding of the stars, we can take some rad photos of them.

To helps us plan for the year, we’ve put together a calendar of stargazing events, new moons, full moons, and more. That way, we can plan each trip accordingly to get the best results. Here are the stargazing events that you should mark on your calendars!

Also, it helps to ask to go with some already knowledgeable folks or attend a star party.

1. Quadrantids Meteor Shower

January 3-4, 2019

This shower runs annually from January 1-5, but peaks on the night of the 3rd with up to 40 meteors per hour. The best viewing will be after midnight. The moon will be a thin crescent so it shouldn’t interfere with viewing. This shower is believed to be dust grains left by the extinct comet 2003 EH1.

2. Total Lunar Eclipse

January 21, 2019

The moon will get darker then appear blood red as it passes through Earth’s dark shadow. It will be visible throughout most of North and South America, the eastern Pacific Ocean, western Atlantic Ocean, and extreme western Europe and Africa.

3. Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower

May 6-7, 2019

The most active portion of this shower will be seen in the Southern Hemisphere with up to 60 meteors per hour. In the Northern Hemisphere, there will be up to 40 meteors per hour. It runs annually from April 19 to May 28 but peaks the night of May 6. The thin crescent moon will set early making for a good showing after midnight. This shower is made of dust particles left by the Halley comet.

4. Total Solar Eclipse

July 2, 2019

We got a chance to catch last year’s total solar eclipse and it was really amazing to witness. This year, the total solar eclipse can’t be seen from North America, but if you’re in central Chile, central Argentina, or the southern pacific Ocean, then make time to see it!

5. Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower

July 28-29, 2019

Debris from the Marsden and Kracht comets create this annual shower that runs from July 12 to August 23. During its peak the night of July 28th, you can see up to 20 meteors per hour. The moon will be a waning crescent so the skies should be dark enough for a good view.

6. Perseids Meteor Shower

August 12-13, 2019

This is one of the best meteor showers producing up to 60 bright meteors per hour from the Swift-Tuttle comet. It runs from July 17 to August 24 with its peak the night of August 12. Unfortunately the moon will be nearly full making it hard to see any of the fainter meteors, but since there should be some bright ones, you may still catch some in the night sky.

photo: @sagesolar

7. Orionids Meteor Shower

October 21-22, 2019

Running from October 2 to November 7, the dust grains left by comet Halley can produce up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak on the night of October 21. The second quarter moon will block some of the faint meteors, but these tend to be brighter so you should still be able to see some in the sky.

8. Taurids Meteor Shower

November 5-6, 2019

This is a smaller shower made up of dust grains left by Asteroid 2004 TG10 and Comet 2P Encke. It runs from September 7 to December 10 but the peak happens the night of November 5th. The first quarter moon sets shortly after midnight giving you plenty of dark skies.

9. Transit of Mercury Across the Sun

November 11, 2019

Mercury will move directly between the Earth and the Sun giving us the rare chance to see it move across the face of the sun. You can see the transit from South and Central America, parts of North America, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The best places to view this rare occurrence will be the eastern United States, Central and South America. You will need a telescope and approved solar filters to catch the transit and the next one won’t happen until 2039.

10. Leonids Meteor Shower

November 17-18, 2019

This annual shower runs from November 6-30 with 15 meteors per hour at its peak. The Tempel-Tuttle comet dust grains peak the night of November 17th, but the second quarter moon will block out most of the fainter meteors. Every 33ish years, this shower will produce hundreds of meteors per hour. The last time this happened was in 2001.

11. Geminids Meteor Shower

December 13-14, 2019

This is one of the best meteor showers with up to 120 multicolored meteors at its peak. The debris left from asteroid 3200 Phaethon runs from December 7-18 but peaks the night of December 13th. Unfortunately there will be almost a full moon which will block out a lot of the meteors but you may still catch some of the brighter ones.

12. Ursids Meteor Shower

December 21-22, 2019

The dust grains left by the Tuttle comet produces 5-10 meteors per hour during its peak the night of the 21st. The shower runs from December 17-25, and on the night of the 21st, the waning crescent moon shouldn’t interfere with the viewing.

13. Annular Solar Eclipse

December 26, 2019

An annular solar eclipse is when the moon is too far away from the Earth to completely cover the Sun resulting in a ring of light around the Moon. If you’re in Saudi Arabia, southern India, norther Sri Lanka, or Indonesia, keep your eye out for this phenomenon.

2019 New Moon Dates

As a photographer, we’re always planning astrophotography around new moon because the sky is darkest and we can shoot photos of galaxies, star clusters, and the milky way. For that reason, it makes it great for stargazing too.

  • January 6, 2019 1:28 UTC
  • February 4, 2019 21:03 UTC
  • March 5, 2019 16:04 UTC
  • April 5, 2019 8:51 UTC
  • May 4, 2019 22:46 UTC
  • June 3, 2019 10:02 UTC
  • July 2, 2019 19:16 UTC
  • August 1, 2019 3:12 UTC
  • August 30, 2019 10:37 UTC
  • September 28, 2019 18:26 UTC
  • October 28, 2019 3:39 UTC
  • November 26, 2019 15:06 UTC
  • December 26, 2019 5:15 UTC
2019 Full Moon Dates

If you’re looking for bright nights or to shoot the moon, go out on full moon days. This year, there are three supermoons, which means the moon is closest to Earth can may look slightly larger and brighter.

  • January 21, 2019 Supermoon
  • February 19, 2019 Supermoon
  • March 21, 2019 Supermoon
  • April 19, 2019
  • May 18, 2019 Blue Moon
  • June 17, 2019
  • July 16, 2019
  • August 15, 2019
  • September 14, 2019
  • October 13, 2019
  • November 12, 2019
  • December 12, 2019

Note: A blue moon is the third of four full..

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What a year! We had a full year of living in NYC, and I’m surprised how much I fell in love with this city (the ugly parts and all). Christmas time and spring were magical here. We checked off a majority of our NYC bucket list, explored a good bit of the Northeast, and even took some trips to Canada, England, and Japan.

While so much has been going well on the outside and for the blog, our personal life took a huge hit this year. Next year, we want to focus on some self-love, our relationships with each other, family (including our two cats), friends, and community.

This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. All opinions are always our own. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: Jan 1, 2019

19 Goals for 2019
My Word of the Year

Last year my word was purge. Moving into a small studio in NYC certainly helped with that, but we still ended up accumulating a lot while working with different brands. Believe it or not, I am looking forward to the purge we have to do before our move at the end of January. It always feels so freeing.

Next year, our word of the year is

PLAY

People hustle in NYC, and on one hand I love that it has motivated me to hustle. On the other hand, I haven’t worked so many hours and felt so exhausted in my life. It has also been our favorite distraction from the other chaos in our personal / family life, which we’ll get more into that later.

This might sound elementary, but we seem to always forget our ABCs in life. We’re going to bring more play back into our life by adopting a new hobby or two. It’s going to include lots of climbing too.

Travel Goals
  1. Visit one new country.
  2. Visit one new state (AK, DE, ID, NE, RI, VT, WV).
  3. Visit one new major national park.
  4. Create a bucket list for the next state we’re moving to and surrounding states.
  5. Attend the RISE Festival or ABQ Balloon Fiesta
  6. Climb at one new rock climbing destination.

More: Your Complete List of National Park Units in the US (400+)

Personal Growth Goals
  1. Bullet journal or doodle every day.
  2. Complete Rosetta Stone Spanish Level 1 (and find someone to practice my Italian with)
  3. Cook one new recipe a month (or 12/yr)
  4. Climb a V7 and generally at a V6 level.
  5. Read 8 Books. Any recommendations?
  6. Get invisalign (Esther). Write one handwritten letter a month (Jacob)

More: 101 New Hobbies to Start in 2019 – Listed by Types of Hobbies

Blogging Goals
  1. Post to IG every day (@estherjulee) unless we don’t have wifi. Post 3x a week (@jacobthefu)
  2. Shift 10% of our income to affiliate or new income stream.
  3. Live off of 50% of our income. Hopefully living in a cheaper city will make this possible.
  4. Continue our one sec of video a day (Check out 2016, 2017)
  5. Partner with one of our dream brands.
  6. Work 40 hours or less per week. Once, we reach 40 hours, take the rest of the week off to play.
  7. Donate $25 for every item not completed. You can help us decide where the money goes at the end of the year.
Previous Years

18 in 2018 (The Year of the Purge)
17 in 2017 (The Year of Moderation)
16 in 2016 (The Year of Being Brave)
15 in 2015 (The Year of Intention)
14 in 2014
13 in 2013

To Help You Plan Your Year

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What are your goals for this year? Do you set resolutions?

Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in NYC.

The post 19 Goals for 2019 appeared first on Local Adventurer » Travel Adventures in NYC + World Wide.

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This year has been a doozy. It’s been one of the best years for the blog, but it has also been one of the hardest years in our personal and family’s lives. As the year comes to a close, we’ve been thinking a lot about how we rest and refuel.

After 5 years of moving to a new city every year and traveling with each other 24/7, sometimes you need to make an extra effort to spice things up and feel rejuvenated. To help us avoid any adventure burn-out this year, we’ve shifted how we think about “adventure.”

A big thank you to Kleenex Wet Wipes for sponsoring this post. All opinions are always our own. This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated:

How to Prevent Burnout a Travel Couple

Our new mindset: Every day is an adventure! This refreshing outlook puts less pressure and expectations on trips and also helps us appreciate the moment rather than waiting for the next one to come. Here’s a few things we try to do that help us avoid any travel burn-out and continue to excite our daily adventures:

1. Go on Local Adventures

There are still plenty of places across the globe we want to see and experience, but we think that adventure can be found simply by exploring a new local neighborhood or trying a new type of food in your own city. By being open to local adventures, you can spend more time exploring and resting, rather than sitting in a plane. We go on micro-adventures all the time in our hometown, and just discovered our new favorite pizza joint!

Pro Tip: Carry along a day-pack of random essentials, like a camera and Kleenex Wet Wipes because you never know when a cheesy pizza or muddy hike can come your way!

2. Don’t Over-plan Your Day

We used to try and make the most of our trips by packing in as much as we can. But when we travel like this, it’s easy to get exhausted early on and not end up checking off all the things on our to-do list. To make the most of our trips, we like to pick one big activity a day and keep a list of other small items we’re interested in. That way, we always accomplish something big from our list each day and fill any extra time when we have energy. Also, it’s absolutely okay or take relaxing breaks throughout and recharge with #noregrets.

3. Stay Healthy

New environments, public places, and different foods are amazing and exciting to explore, but can also expose you to lots of germs. To help take extra vigilance for staying healthy and clean when we travel, we always carry around Kleenex Wet Wipes. These are perfect to clean our hands when we don’t have easy access to a bathroom and use on planes to de-germ our tray table, seatbelt and headrest! We also bring immune boosters and/or vitamin C to take on travel days in case we start to feel a bug coming on.

4. Do Something Active

We find that planning something active during our trips really helps keep us moving (physical, of course, but mentally too). It’s a bonus if it’s something you can prepare for. For example, we both really enjoy rock climbing. If we’re traveling to a destination that has opportunities to climb, we always try to fit it in, even if it’s only for an afternoon! It gets us excited about that day and also encourages us to be active leading up to trip to be sure we’re prepped. What are your favorite adventure activities?

5. Try Something New

Pushing yourself to try something new can be exciting and may even lead you to find your next passion! It’s also really special when you experience something new together. It creates a lasting memory and can reignite the spark in your relationship. Thanks, dopamine! Over the last few years, we tried ice climbing, sandboarding, and drove a UTV (check out how Kleenex Wet Wipes came to the rescue during our UTV adventure, both to clean off our jackets and faces from the dirt plus to wipe our hands when we found ourselves needing to take a pee break mid-ride).

6. Do Something Greater

Sometimes all you need is some perspective to reverse your burnout. Whether you do it locally or when you’re traveling, find a way where you can get involved in something bigger than yourself. This really helps remind us why we do what we do and how the things we sometimes get caught up on seem so small when we look at the bigger picture.

7. Make Me Time

We probably spend more time together than most couples since we eat, work, and play together; but no matter if you travel with your significant other, a group of friends or your family, it’s important to have some time to yourself where you can reflect and take a break. In each situation, we find a unique way to do this, whether it’s going out for a short walk, putting headphones on and letting the rest of the world melt away, or heading out on a solo-adventure.

What to Pack for Your __

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How do you avoid burnout when you travel as a couple?

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When I was in high school and college, I remember feeling bored. The world was wide open and the possibilities of creating and recreating myself were endless, but everything good in life seemed to be ahead of me. I was always waiting for that good part.

Now, I’m no longer preparing myself for the future. Perhaps I’ve already arrived.

This post contains affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. All opinions are always our own. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Published: Dec 26, 2018

101 Hobbies to Start in 2019 - Listed By Types of Hobbies

As much as we love our work, lately our work has become a problem. With travel blogging, there isn’t much separation between work and life, and we’ll admit that we’re both workaholics.

We got swept up in the busyness of NYC and only realized recently how much we started to value work more than anything else. One day we made it a goal to take the evening off, and when we realized we didn’t know how to fill our time, we went right back to work.

This might sound simple, but for us, it hasn’t been so easy. We also need something that we love to do for ourselves and not so we can post about it, which is weirdly a prevalent part of the present human experience.

The Benefits of Hobbies

A few reasons I want to find some new hobbies next year:

  • To play and relax – We need to find hobbies that can make us zero money and that might possibly bore everyone. haha
  • To sharpen my mind – I have such terrible memory now and may well be on my way to having early onset Alzheimer’s (it’s in the family and it freaks me out).
  • For personal growth, enrichment and emotional health – something I’m constantly needing work on.
  • For better physical health – we already rock climb, but I think we need some activiities with cardio.

Other benefits include:

  • Learning a useful skill
  • Socializing and making new friends
  • Making extra money
Title of Subsection

Also, with our blog, you may already know we’re all about exploring our hometowns and greater backyards. We firmly believe that adventure starts within yourself by cultivating a spirit of adventure. Many of these can be done at home. How much more local can you get? ;)

“Find three hobbies you love: one to earn money, one to stay in shape, and one that allows you to be creative.” And if there were a fourth, we’d add one to make the world a better place. Which of these would you like to do next year?

Outdoor Hobbies
  1.  Hiking

Some of our friends are peak baggers, which is a form of collecting where you summit a list of peaks of your choice (ie the 14ers in Colorado). Also check out our 25 best hikes in the world.

  1.  Rock Climbing

It’s a great way to exercise without feeling like you’re exercising. Frequenting the local climbing gym has also been one of the best ways for us to make friends as we move from city to city. Here are some beginner climbing tips for getting started.

  1. Canyoneering

Get started by going on a guided canyoneering trip. This is also a great guide to get started.

  1.  Slacklining

A lot of climbers also slackline to work on their balance, but there are also people who only slackline. This is the kit we want to set up at home once we move out of our tiny NYC apartment. 

  1.  Mountaineering

Mountaineering is taking hiking to the next level by adding in more technical aspects. You can pick up gear at REI, and they can always show you the best gear. They also have the best return policy.

  1.  Mountain Biking

Explore the outdoors on two wheels. Pick up some mountain biking faves here.

  1.  Camping

Camping can be as relaxing or as extreme as you want. Just as an example, we have this cheaper tent for car camping and this one for long backpacking trips.

  1.  Glamping

If you want to experience the outdoors but still need the comforts, glamping is the way to go. This is one of our favorite glamping trips.

  1. Kayaking, Canoeing, or SUP

Kayaking, canoeing, and/or SUP are great when you travel because it lets you explore areas most people don’t get to. This was one of our first times kayaking.

  1. Rafting

Try this out by going on rafting trips with guides. You can then pick up some gear when you’re ready to take it more seriously.

  1.  Skiing or Snowboarding

We’ve met quite a few people who move to a new city just because of their love of skiing or snowboarding. If you’re worried about the cold, just be sure you have solid winter clothes and you’ll be all set.

  1.  Scuba Diving

We had always been interested in scuba diving and finally took classes and got certified in San Diego. We’re whiskey divers now.

  1.  Fishing, Crabbing, or Lobstering

Here’s a great beginner fishing kit to get your feet wet. We also wrote this guide on how to go crabbing on the Oregon Coast.

Sports Hobbies
  1.  Archery

A great way to start is by taking lessons at a local archery club.

  1.  Bowling

Regardless of how serious you take bowling, if you go more than a few times a year, you should pick up your own shoes to save money (men’s and women’s).

  1.  Cycling

Cycling comes in many different forms and is a great way to explore and challenge yourself. Check out cycling gear here.

  1.  Golfing

Golfing is great hobby to pick up and something you can do while traveling around the world. Read this book on stuff all golfers should know.

  1.  Horse Riding

Whether you want to become a full fledged equestrian or just horseback ride when you’re traveling, there are plenty of different options to get into this.

  1.  Ice Skating

Lutz Jump, Twizzle, and Salchow Jump around the ice. Or if you’re like us, just try to learn skating backwards first. If you’re in NYC, here are the best ice skating rinks to visit.

  1.  Martial Arts or Kickboxing

I’ve been taking kickboxing with a gf of mine on and off..

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Christmas in Atlanta is not your typical “White Christmas.” We rarely ever get snow down here, and one year, it was 75 degrees the week of Christmas. Even without the snow, there are still plenty of ways to get into the holiday spirit. Here is a list of our favorites.

This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. All opinions are always our own. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: Dec 21, 2018

11 Magical Ways to Experience Christmas in Atlanta

1155 Mount Vernon Hwy #300, 30338, map
Admission: $34

Santa’s Fantastical is a fun, interactive immersive experience that’s made for Instagram. Be sure to walk through tunnels of lights, catch a live performance, and of course, take a photo with Santa in his chateau. We especially loved the creative photo ops and the dancing ornaments light show. More info here.

Pro Tip: Outside food and drinks are not allowed, but there’s a snack stand that serves up hot chocolate and seasonal goodies.

675 Ponce De Leon Ave, 30308, map
Admission: $10 roof entry + $15 skating

I’m not the most graceful on ice, but it’s still fun to lace up my skates and go around the rink a few times! The rink on the Roof at Ponce City Market offers amazing views of the Atlanta skyline. They also have private igloos you can rent to escape the cold. Don’t skip out on the seasonal cocktails and small bites. Make your reservations here.

Local Tip: It’s much windier and colder on the roof, so layer up.

More: Your Essential Guide to Ponce City Market Atlanta

240 North Highland Ave NE, 30307, map
Admission: FREE

This beloved holiday pop-up bar have multiple locations this year. The restaurant spaces are decked out in kitschy festive decor and welcoming you with Christmas themed cocktails. Miracle is the perfect bar to escape your annoying Aunt Susan visiting from out of town.

Pro Tip: The wait can be up to three hours in the evening. We suggest making reservations at Parish, the Highland location for boozy brunch instead to skip the crowds.

1345 Piedmont Ave NE, 30309, map
Admission: $30

Thousands of lights are on display throughout the botanical garden. I hate being out in the cold, but this is totally worth it. Beautiful lights are strung over trees, flowers, and other seasonal plants. Some displays are even paired with music, so venture around with a hot apple cider and enjoy the magical experience. See details here.

Note: Rain or shine. Tickets are non-refundable and they do not offer rain checks for inclement weather.

1000 Robert E Lee Blvd, 30083,

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The most famous ice skating rink in the world is in NYC. Can you guess which one (answer is below)? During the holidays there many winter activities in the city that make your visit more magical.

Ice skating is a quintessential part of the holidays here. To help you decide on where to go, we’ve put together our guide to the best ice skating in NYC, so trap on some skates and let’s hit the ice.

A big thank you to the following ice skating rinks for hosting us. All opinions are always our own. This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: Dec 19, 2018

9 Wonderful Places to Go Ice Skating in NYC

New York, NY 10018, map

Open: October 27, 2018 through March 3, 2019
Hours: Mon – Fri 11am – 8pm, Sat – Sun 10am – 8pm
Price: Free Admission
Skate Rental: $20
Zamboni Schedule: 15-minute Zamboni breaks as needed

This is our favorite area when it comes to the holidays because you get a beautiful tree, a Christmas Market, and ice skating. Plus, this is the only free rink in the city. After you’re done, be sure to stop by the New York Public Library too. It’s right next to Bryant Park and you can see it all decked out for the holidays.

Since there is so much to do here, it definitely gets busy. If you can’t make it right when it opens, consider doing Express Skate ($30) or Reserve Skate ($55) to avoid the lines. We went on a weekday morning and there were about 50 people in the regular line, but it gets even longer in the afternoons. They also include skate rental and bag check.

Local Tip: Try not to bring your bags, it cost $12-15 to check bags. There are small lockers you can use free of charge if you bring a lock, which fits a pair of shoes and small bag.

830 5th Ave, 10065, map

Open: October 20, 2018 to April 7, 2019
Hours: Mon – Tues 10am – 2:30pm, Wed – Thurs 10am – 10pm, Fri – Sat 10am – 11pm, Sun 10am – 9pm
Price: $12-19 for adults, $6 for children 11 and under, $5 for spectators CASH ONLY
Skate Rental: $10
Zamboni Schedule: Zamboni breaks vary

This massive 30,800 square foot rink draws major crowds. When we visited, we arrived just before it opened and there was already a line. Within an hour, there were buses of school kids visiting and the rink was getting packed. Regardless, having the park in the foreground and city in the background is special and unique to this location.

Pro Tip: You do have to pay a spectator fee even if you aren’t skating, but there are free viewing areas from above outside of the rink.

600 5th Ave, 10020, map

Open: October through April
Hours: Daily 8:30am – Midnight (may periodically close for private events – check the site in advance)
Price: $25-33 for adults, $15 for seniors & children under 11
Skate Rental: $12.50
Zamboni Schedule: 30-minute Zamboni breaks every 90 minutes

This is the most famous ice skating rink in the world. It’s been featured in different shows and movies, and most people will recognize its iconic place at a glance. We always remember the SNL closing credits where the cast skates here after the show.

General admission is available on a first-come, first-served basis. During the holidays, it gets extremely busy and will sell out since they only allow 150 skaters on the ice at a time. If you want a guaranteed slot, consider reserving a VIP package ($60-150), which includes skate rentals, refreshments, and access to their VIP Igloo. We got to enjoy some hot chocolate, and they let you onto the ice before anyone else.

Local Tip: To avoid the crowds, visit after mid-January or October to early November.

More: 9 Amazing Things to do in Rockefeller Center

110 Lenox Ave, 10065, map

Open: October 20, 2018 to April 7, 2019
Hours: Mon – Tues 9:30am – 4pm, Wed 9am – 2:30pm , Fri 9:30am – 11pm, Sat 1pm – 11pm, Sun 12:30pm – 4:30pm
Price: $9 for adults, $5 for kids, $5 for spectators
Skate Rental: $8
Zamboni Schedule: Zamboni breaks vary

These two small oval rinks aren’t the most impressive but a good place to head if you want to avoid the massive crowds at Wollman. They also dedicate one to hockey and one for skaters.

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